Spoiler alert! The following post discusses major reveals and the ending of “Fear Street Part 3: 1666” so beware if you haven’t it yet.
Netflix’s “Fear Street” trilogy featured not just one killer or even two, but a whole murderer’s row of villains – plus one big bad who fans might not have seen coming.
Co-written and directed by Leigh Janiak, the R-rated teen slasher movies (all streaming now) focus on three different time periods – 1994, 1978 and 1666 – with Deena (Kiana Madeira), her girlfriend Sam (Olivia Scott Welch) and their friends and allies trying to save the town of Shadyside from a centuries-old witch’s curse. For years, innocent Shadysiders have been turned into homicidal maniacs and masked slashers, with many resurrected to haunt our heroes.
“The whole thing was amazing,” Janiak says of crafting her scary-movie rogues gallery. “I remember spending hours researching masks and talking about looks. It's just a dream as a horror fan to be able to do this.”
However, a witch isn’t ultimately to blame for all of the bad news. Janiak breaks down that huge “Fear Street” twist, shares inspirations behind the various killers and reveals the one that freaked her out the most in person.
A Goode guy was the worst of them all
The trilogy's entire historical narrative was built around Sarah Fier (played by Madeira in “Fear Street Part 3: 1666”), who's thought to be the young 17th-century woman responsible for years and years of madness and bloodshed. However, she wasn't a witch, Sarah just happened to be in love with fellow teen Hannah Miller (Welch), and it was actually Sarah's jilted, power-hungry suitor Solomon Goode (Ashley Zukerman) who made a deal with the devil – one passed on through generations of his family, all the way to seemingly helpful cop Nick Goode (also Zukerman) in 1994. Janiak wanted to “show the banality of evil – that at the end of the day, these are just people that are making these really bad decisions.”
Sarah having a forbidden romance with “someone she shouldn't have been at that time period” made her “a perfect scapegoat for this evil, of this man who felt entitled to a (ideal) world he wasn't getting,” Janiak says.
Skull Mask is the new Ghostface
The murderer in the black robe and skeleton mask who offs a mall bookstore employee (Maya Hawke) in the opening scene of “Fear Street Part 1: 1994” was “100%” an ode to the iconic “Scream” villain, Janiak admits. “I feel like Ghostface is so (expletive) cool and amazing and so bumbling and still terrifying. He is goofy but there's that thing of like, ugh, I don't want that guy standing outside my house or chasing me.”
Ruby Lane slashes the horror glass ceiling
Jordyn DiNatale’s freaky female introduced in “1994” hums a sweet tune so you hear her coming before she slices you up. The vast majority of slashers in horror films are predominantly male, so Janiak had to ponder how to make a young woman feel utterly terrifying. “So we kind of leaned into those tropes of she's a little sexy, she's going to seduce the person who sees her on the stage, she's going to seem innocent but she's not,” the director says.
Look out for the Nightwing Killer, campers
In "1978," Tommy Slater (McCabe Slye) is seen as an all-American golden boy at Camp Nightwing until he breaks bad, puts a bag over his head and goes on a murderous spree. While the first “Fear Street” unmasks Skull Mask in the beginning, Janiak decided that with the second chapter, she could nod at a familiar trope (see: Leatherface in “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” and Jason Voorhees in the “Friday the 13th” films) and also “let us live with the horror of a person you know, that you've gotten to kind of like," being a axe-swinging killer.
The Pastor is one very unholy man
Cyrus Miller (Michael Chandler), whose daughter hides her relationship with Sarah Fier, is a 17th-century preacher teased by local children. However, this all-seeing church figure very much goes to the dark side: In one very disturbing scene, he’s found by townsfolk after ripping several kids’ eyes out of their sockets and also done the same to himself. In the film, “we were dealing with this idea of 'What do you see? What don't you see? Where is the truth and where is not the truth?’ ” Janiak says. “It just felt symbolic.”
The Milkman delivers supporting scares
Janiak featured other killers in minor roles – and hinted at their legends – like The Grifter, Billy Barker and Farmer of Death. One who holds a special place in Janiak’s heart is Harry Rooker (Kevin Waterman), a 1950s Shadyside milkman with a “Night of the Hunter” vibe who preyed on housewives. While "Kevin is so nice and chill and sweet,” Janiak says, “I had trouble talking to him on set. I don't think he even knows this, but when he was in the full makeup, there was something that just really tapped into a primal fear for me.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Fear Street' trilogy: Netflix's villains all have killer inspiration